Australian High Commission
New Zealand
Cook Islands and Niue

Visa and Immigration FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for checking the Frequently Asked Questions page in relation to Australian Immigration and Visas. This information is provided for Australian visa and citizenship by descent applications being processed in New Zealand.

Please find the answers to the most frequently asked questions below. You should check this information thoroughly before making further contact with the Department.

1)  I am a NZ Citizen - do I need a visa to enter Australia?

2)  I am a NZ Citizen and have a criminal conviction history?

3)  I am a NZ Citizen and my partner is not. Which visa (s) can my partner apply for?

4)  If I am a citizen of another country (not New Zealand) which visa(s) can I apply for?

5)  Can I apply online?

6)  I have technical problems with ImmiAccount used for online applications. Who can help?

7)  How long will it take to process my application?

8)  Can my application be processed faster?

9)  Do I need a visa label in my passport?

10)  Do I need to a return ticket to travel to Australia?

11) Do I need a migration agent?

12)  How many months validity do I need on my passport to travel to Australia?

13)  Do NZ Citizens require a Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) if travelling to Australia as crew on a non-military ship?

1)  I am a NZ Citizen - do I need a visa to enter Australia?

Most New Zealand citizens who enter Australia on a New Zealand passport do so under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. New Zealand citizens who enter Australia under this arrangement do not have to apply for a visa before travelling. They are granted a Special Category Visa (subclass 444) (SCV) on arrival in Australia, subject to meeting certain health and character requirements. An SCV allows the holder to remain and work in Australia indefinitely.

Health Concern Non-Citizen (HCNC)
If you are a New Zealand citizen and you have untreated tuberculosis - you may be considered HCNC and will be required to apply for a visa prior to travel to Australia. Please email ttsauckland@ttsvisas.com for further advice.

Behaviour Concern Non-Citizen (BCNC)
If you are a New Zealand citizen and you have had any criminal convictions in your lifetime, or you have been deported, excluded or removed from any country, including Australia, you may be considered BCNC. 

2)  I am a NZ Citizen and have a criminal conviction history?

If you are a New Zealand citizen with criminal convictions, no matter how long ago your convictions were or if they have been removed from government records, you are required to obtain written confirmation from the Department before you travel to Australia.

Convictions in New Zealand

Please download the Consent to Disclosure of Information form available here. This will allow the New Zealand police to provide the Australian Consulate-General with details of your criminal history.

Complete the form and return it to the Australian Consulate-General via the postal or email address listed below.

Australian Consulate-General
Level 7, Pricewaterhouse Coopers Tower
186-194 Quay Street, Auckland 1010 
Email:  immigration.auckland@dfat.gov.au with subject heading 'Criminal Conviction Consent Form'

You will be informed in writing whether or not you are required to lodge an application for a visa to enter Australia prior to travel. This process takes approximately three weeks from the date the completed form is received by the Consulate.

Convictions in any other country

If you have convictions in any country, including Australia, you are required to provide a police clearance from that country to the Department. You will then be informed in writing whether or not you need to lodge an application for a visa to enter Australia. Please visit this link for instructions on obtaining the appropriate police clearance from relevant countries: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Char

Character assessments

If required to apply for a visa; you can either apply online at www.border.gov.au or submit an application through the AVAC office www.ttsauckland@ttsvisas.com.

Initial processing of visa applications begins at the Australian Consulate-General in Auckland. Section 501 Character assessments are sent to the Visa Application Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) in Melbourne, Australia.

The time frame for a character assessment by VACCU will vary depending upon the specifics of your circumstances, but can take six months or more.

More information on character is available here: http://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/79character

3)  I am a NZ Citizen and my partner is not. Which visa (s) can my partner apply for?

New Zealand citizen family relationship (temporary) visa subclass 461 allows family of a Special Category Visa holder to live, work and study in Australia temporarily. More information on this visa is available here: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1 See question 4 for other visa options.

4)  If I am a citizen of another country (not New Zealand) which visa(s) can I apply for?

You will find detailed information about visa options for Australia on the Department’s website at: www.border.gov.au.

The website includes a Find a visa tool that provides you with appropriate visa options based on information you provide including visitors, transit, work, study and permanent migration options. Supporting documents required for a visa application may vary depending on your country of residence. Please check the individual website of the Australian mission where you intend to lodge your visa application to identify these requirements.

5)  Can I apply online?

The Department is committed to building more efficient and effective ways of delivering accessible services through the use of digital channels as the default form of delivery.

As such, you can complete a number of services online without needing to contact the department directly. Please see Online Services for eligible nationalities and other online services. Documents can be attached through the ImmiAccount until the application has been finalised.

There are limits on the number of files which can be uploaded for each application. However, you may incorporate multiple documents in each file to minimise the total number of files you upload. Please note that files must not exceed 5MB in size.

6) I have technical problems with ImmiAccount used for online applications. Who can help?

If you are experiencing technical issues with ImmiAccount, please first check the Frequently Asked Questions and Quick Reference Guides available on the Department's website: www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Immi

If you still require technical support for account related issues only, send an email to the following mailbox with a description of your issue and screenshots: ImmiAccount.Support@border.gov.au. Any general enquiries sent to this mailbox will not be responded to.

If you are experiencing technical problems in relation to lodging a citizenship application, send an email to the following mailbox with a description of your issue and screenshots: www.border.gov.au/forms/citz-elodgement-help. Any general enquiries sent to this mailbox will not be responded to.

7) How long will it take to process my application?

The Department publishes processing time service standards for all visa and citizenship products. Service standard processing times are aspirational and are not a guarantee that your application will be processed in the time listed. Actual processing times may vary depending on a range of factors.

Visa processing service standards

We aim to process 75% of complete applications within visa service standard processing times. Complete applications are considered those that include all supporting documents and information requested on individual visa application pages.

For information on service standards, please see: http://www.border.gov.au/about/access-accountability/service-standards

Citizenship processing service standards

We aim to process 80% of complete applications within citizenship service standard processing times. Complete applications are considered those that include all supporting documents and information requested on individual application pages.

8)  Can my application be processed faster?

Applications are processed in date and there is little scope to process applications earlier. In very rare cases, processing can be brought forward on the basis of compelling and compassionate circumstances. This is only done when there are circumstances which are significantly more compelling than those which would generally be encountered within the usual cohort applying for visas.

If you have compelling or compassionate reasons to support your request to process your application faster, please provide a written statement and evidence to your case officer outlining those circumstances. As a general rule, the following circumstances are not considered to be compelling or compassionate;

• Imminent travel or purchase of flights
• employment in Australia
• schooling for children
• pregnancy
• selling your house
• separation from your partner

Submitting a request for expedited process will be considered on a case-by-case basis and there is no guarantee that your application will be prioritised.

9)  Do I need a visa label in my passport?

No.  Australian visas are recorded electronically.  You can provide evidence that you have authority to travel to, enter, and/or remain in Australia by showing your passport that is linked to your electronic visa record.  You can use Visa Entitlement Certification Online (VEVO) or the myVEVO app free to check your visa details and conditions.  For more information see:  Electronic Visa Label

10)  Do I need to have a return ticket to travel to Australia?

There is no requirement to have a return ticket when you arrive in Australia. However, officers at the Australian border need to be satisfied that visitors, working holiday makers and temporary residents are intending to and have the means to depart Australia before their visa expires. While not a mandatory requirement, you may wish to carry a copy of your bank statement to demonstrate you have sufficient funds to purchase an airline ticket to depart Australia.

11)  Do I need a migration agent?

You do not need to use a migration agent to apply for an Australian visa. A migration agent cannot influence nor predetermine the outcome of your application, nor can they fast-track it’s processing. If you wish to engage a migration agent, the Department recommends using an agent registered with the office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), or where this is not possible, one that is accredited in your country. Further information on MARA and contact details is available at www.mara.com.au

12) How many months validity do I need on my passport to travel to Australia?

Passports need to be valid to cover immediate travel arrangements only.  Where a visa is required, the validity of the passport is taken into consideration when deciding the validity or length of the visa.

13)  Do NZ Citizens require a Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) if travelling to Australia as crew on a non-military ship?

A Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) is not required by those New Zealand citizens who would be eligible for a Special Category visa (subclass 444) on arrival. For more details about the Special Category visa please see Question 1.

If a New Zealand citizen enters Australia on a non-military ship at an excised offshore place, they will need to obtain a MCV.

In accordance with Australia's Migration Legislation, an excised offshore place includes the following islands; the Coral Sea Islands Territory, any Australian island from the latitude vicinity of Mackay in Queensland through to the latitude vicinity of Exmouth, Western Australia, including the Australian islands of the Torres Strait, Christmas Island and the Cocos-Keeling Islands.

Click here for more information on the Maritime Crew visa and how to apply: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/988-